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Independence Day

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

The Fourth of July: Independence Day! Really?

A nursery school teacher took the opportunity to tell her class about the 4th of July and patriotism. “We live in a great country,” she told her students. “One thing we should all be happy about is that, in this country, we are all free!” One little boy walked up to her and stood with his hands on his hips, looking a little “steamed.” He said, “I’m not free, I’m four!”

I wish the next “4th” story was that much fun but it’s not. I would hope that it would be a celebration of two hundred plus years of a growing free patriotic America, but it isn’t.

When I was a kid, there was a story about the frog that sat in a pan of water and even though the heat was turned up on the pot, because it was a gradual increase, the frog was “cooked” sitting right there in that pot because he never jumped out of the pan. That silly frog just sat there while the water began to boil because he had been desensitized by the gradual increase in the water temperature. These past few days I’ve gotten uncomfortable with “heat” of some of the issues we seem to be facing with more frequency and have noticed how “hot” the surroundings are getting in this country.

The most recent couple of Supreme Court rulings have “turned up the heat.” First, the Court ruled that private companies could seize private property without the owners’ consent, overruling private ownership. The only qualifier is that the seizer be for the “public good.” In a 5-4 decision, conservative Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, Thomas and the moderate Justice O’Conner dissented. O’Conner wrote of the ruling, “nothing is to prevent the state from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with at factory.” With this ruling, your property could be seized for private development if it is thought that the public would benefit by the increased taxation of the new developer! The ruling has the effect that the United States government has no interest in protecting property rights of its citizens! That’s kind of “spooky” to me. (By the way, historically, property rights being given Divine attention, having been dealt with in two [stealing and coveting] of the 10 Commandments. The books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy all make clear the idea of property ownership.) As it stands now, we in effect rent our property from the “state” in the form of property tax (if you don’t believe that the real owners of our property is the government try not paying those taxes! Property taxes essentially make the owner a tenant since he has to keep paying for the privilege of living on his own property). The United States Government, the protector of our “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness,” has become partner with the “revenue generator” to qualify who is entitled to own property. Daniel Webster stated, “No other rights are safe where property is not safe.” You can lose your house if you don’t pay the “fee” and you can be moved off your acre if they decide Wal-Mart would make the government more money in taxes!

Is it getting away from us? Recently in Philadelphia, a memorial was erected at the corner where the first annual demonstration of homosexuals took place. That public memorial is celebrated while at the same time you cannot display the 10 Commandments in courthouses or school halls because it would be “offensive” to someone to do so. If you’re offended by the Philadelphia Celebration of homosexuality, your “being offended” doesn’t matter. It’s “offensive” to have “under God” in our Pledge. It’s insulting and becoming more rare to identify God in any public format. Same-sex marriage is someone’s right to expression? Protected speech includes pornography and profanity, but you better not say the Name of God in a public place or you might be arrested.

More and more churches are being targeted for what they say in their sermons, all under that banner of stopping “hate speech.” The suggestion from some is for Christians to get out of the political environment. Actually, they would have you “get out of the way” to continue their agenda! Get out of the way so that the un-believers can continue the transition to a completely secular society and do that without your objection! We live in an environment where if Christians object to anything it’s considered to be “intolerant.” However, “intolerance” and intimidation seems become the appropriate and acceptable response to be use against Believers. At the first suggestion of Christian morality and ethic the name-calling begins from the secular groups. Do we live in a time where “evil is said to be good, and good is said to be evil?”

The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution were called the Bill of Rights, the first of which is: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” That “first amendment right” has been the “holy cry” of the secular to defend the “separation of Church and State.” The truth is, that statement was put into the Constitution’s Bill of Rights in order to preserve and protect religious expression. Just as with property rights, the United States intends to have “no interest in protecting” religious rights either. What do we lose next in that name of the “public good.”

This country was established as a republican form of government meaning power is held in its citizens by way of votes! Today dozens of states have passed Marriage Protection Amendments, most by margins of 60 to 75% and yet one Federal judge in Nebraska has the power to effectively over-rule all those voters’ decision. Is that the judiciary as thought of by the founding fathers?

Many times, I’m troubled by the “shouting” heard from both sides of these issues. Sometimes I’m embarrassed by the way “our side” expresses itself. It takes such a physical and mental toll on us to constantly be challenging, or constantly be challenged, but that’s “the time” we live in. I think that before Christ comes again, we’ll observe the same total rejection at this coming as we observed in His first. And then the end shall come. There’s a spirit of anti-Christ in the earth. It’s unruly, it’s boastful, and it tolerates no one. It blends and metamorphoses itself into the fabric of our everyday life so that “we can’t quite get our hands on the thing.” But, if you look carefully, you can see it each day in the effort to secularize this country.
Voluntarily separating ourselves from God has predictable results. It seems that the attempt to separate our selves from God is and has been a preoccupation of mankind from the beginning. I don’t think that “God is getting us” for that rejection of His Love. I don’t believe He is causing hardships for us. I believe that if we are “fool enough” to reject His love and His life source we get the terrible results of that “disconnect.” The Creation is set up so that when we diminish Him, we diminish us! It’s Natural Law that does it. Pull a plant out of the soil and it will stress and die. The soil (Source of Life) doesn’t have to do a thing; just the separation from Life destroys the plant. That’s the natural result of our rebellion. God stands ready to receive us and willing to accept us, but our “anti-Christ” desire to be “lord of the ring” creates a “gulf” between His provision and protection and our life experience. This push by the secular away from God makes all of us in this country vulnerable to the calamity of the world around us.

I’m more aware of the necessity of “keeping on, keeping on” and taking a position on many of these social issues. It’s not going away, it’s not getting easier. And anyway, we have children and grandchildren to think about here! What of the next generation’s freedoms? Should we give up and go quietly? Should say it’s too hard, too much, too late? I don’t think so. Christian philosopher and author, G. K. Chesterton once said, “Once abolish the God, and the Government becomes God.” Well, I don’t want that god for my God. And I can find no hint in Scripture that we’re to “grow weary of doing good,” no inference that we should not say and do the Gospel thing until the end. We need to be thoughtful in how we object to these things. We need to discern how to express ourselves in the “market place of ideas.” But, the Creator of Life has given us the gift of being free, and we must object to “the separation” and not fade into an expressionless future. WBVN is both an advocate for the Gospel of Peace between God and man and also a “mouth-piece” of information for the Christian community. Thank you for helping do both those things over FM 104.5.

NewSong

Posted on by Ken Posted in Concert Photos | Leave a comment

Purpose

Posted on by Ken Posted in Newsletters | Leave a comment

“What’s it say about a country that believes God is dead and the Elvis is alive and in hiding somewhere?”

Have you ever had a “bummer” day? Well, obviously, I know the answer to that question. We all have them: young/old, men/women, babies/grandparents, Christian/non-Christian. Had one myself just the other day. Oh, it wasn’t really that bad a day, but it was a day that I kind of said to my self, “somebody talk to me about this.” I just wanted some “wise-counsel.” But, I wanted counsel that was unbiased, someone who had no conflict of interest with the issue. The issue, well I was in a situation where I just wanted to shout, “Hey! God where are You?!”

It really wasn’t that dramatic, but it got me to thinking, who’s going to give me the answer to this mess, “OK, who is the smartest person I know?” In my brain I went through a checklist of friends, relatives, people I didn’t even know came to mind. No! I wanted someone who had the reputation of “knowing everything,” I needed some “know-it-all.” Then it occurred to me. When I was a kid the smartest man we all knew about was Albert Einstein. You know the one, the one we all tease about: “alright Einstein, what do you think?” That was the way we diminished our friends when they boasted a little too much. Einstein, Yeh! Let me check this out with Einstein. That’s who I need. I need Einstein!

Well, of course Einstein’s dead! So I thought, well he surely left some wise and useful information for me to check out. Surely the “smartest man in the world” said something that was recorded about how he felt about God, if not, at least some statement about how he thought there was no God and Christians were all just fools! So off to the computer I go. I found many interesting things that Einstein said. Here are a few.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage- to move in the opposite direction.

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.

The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them. (I like that one!)

The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.

Not everything that can be counted counts, not everything that counts can be counted.

Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.

Wow! There it was! Surely if Einstein, the smartest of us, believed that (and so strongly believed it) it’s OK to believe right along with him! We certainly would be in “good company.” For the most part, we are no Einsteins, but the man known for having the most “intellect” just joined with us as a Believer! Actually, it’s very documented how Einstein felt about science and God. “Albert” felt that with science “the thoughts of God may be trapped and grasped.” He regularly read the Bible, Old and New, throughout his life and attended a Bible study regularly. He thought of God as revealing Himself in the harmony and rational beauty of the universe. “I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith…science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” He was once quoted to say, “God does not play dice,” meaning this universe not by chance but design. In “Albert’s” mind, the order found in the universe confirmed the existence of God! Well, if it’s good enough for Time Magazines “Man of the Century” it’s good enough for me!

Good counsel and from someone at a distance from my issue, someone with “no interest in my little problem.” Thinking about what Einstein had to say reminded me of Psalm 136:

Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His Mercy endureth forever
To Him who alone doeth great wonders…
To Him the by Wisdom made the heavens…
To Him that stretcheth out the earth above the waters…
To Him that made great lights…the sun to rule by day, the moon and stars to rule by night
O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for His Mercy endureth for ever.

A colleague said of Einstein, “(He) used to speak of God so often that I almost looked upon him as a disguised theologian.” For Albert Einstein “God” was not a just a mode of thought but rather an expression of a “lived faith.” It has been said that he was the person that used more of his brain than any other man alive. Einstein! My pal, my buddy! Good advice, just what I needed to hear from the smartest among us. Never thought I could get over a “bummer” by reading Einstein. Thanks Albert!

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